The Atlanta Hawks had their three-game winning streak snapped on a last second jumper by Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic, falling to the Magic, 96-94 on Super Bowl Sunday.
The Atlanta Hawks can no longer match their franchise-best 60 wins in the 2015-16 campaign, as Atlanta can finish no better than 59-23 after falling to the Orlando Magic in heartbreaking fashion for the second time in as many years. Last season, small forward Tobias Harris hit the game-winning jumper to sink the Hawks. On Super Bowl Sunday 2016, center Nikola Vucevic hit the jumper to beat Atlanta, 96-94.
That was only the Magic’s third win since the calendar turned to 2016. This is twice in the last two weeks that the Atlanta Hawks have lost to a reeling basketball team on a last-second buzzer-beater. Atlanta lost its lone trip to Phoenix thanks to an Archie Goodwin three-pointer on January 23rd, 98-95.
Fortunately for the Atlanta Hawks, this is a very quick turnaround from this game, as both the Hawks and the Magic will travel back to Atlanta to play yet again Monday night at Philips Arena. After losing its first game of the four-game series, Atlanta will hope to split the pair of the back-to-back, while simultaneously taking a 3-1 season win over the Magic on Monday night.
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Part of why Atlanta was not able to defeat Orlando Sunday afternoon was that the team only got 12 points from its bench, six from Dennis Schroder and six from Thabo Sefolosha, who hit an improbable shot beyond half court at the third period buzzer.
With a poor performance from the Atlanta bench means that the starting five had to do most of the heavy lifting. Fortunately for Atlanta, all five starters were in double figures scoring to make this a respectable divisional rivalry game that again went down to the wire.
Jeff Teague led the way for the Atlanta Hawks with 24 points on 10-17 shooting, including 3-5 from three. While he did miss the potential game-winning shot for Atlanta, his effort Sunday afternoon was a major reason Atlanta was even in the game despite shooting 38.5% from the field. Teague also had five assists against the Magic.
Kent Bazemore had 23 points on 8-17 shooting, including 3-5 from three and 4-4 at the line. Bazemore also finished with eight rebounds, two steals, and an assist. Paul Millsap had a tough day shooting the basketball, as he was only 5-14 from the field, but finish with 14 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks in his near double-double.
Al Horford had 11 points on 5-11 shooting, while collecting six rebounds, dishing out six dimes, and blocking two shots. Kyle Korver had 10 points on 4-10 shooting, including 2-5 from three. He finished with six rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block.
Overall, Atlanta again brought the defensive tenacity to can an otherwise poor offensive game competitive. Atlanta had their chance to steal a game in Orlando despite not shooting well in the slightest in Sunday afternoon.
The Hawks still held the Magic to under 100 points, making it four games in a row that the top five defense in the NBA has done that. Hopefully Atlanta can make a few more shots Monday night at home in Philips. Let’s Go Hawks!